Dear Miss Snark,
The issue of co-authors and whose name appears first is barely covered on the internet. As a librarian, I understand the CIP data and consequences but the issue my co-author and I are having is a bit more emotional and I hope you can cut it down to the bone for us.
We agree that the book is 50% co-authored. We both want our names first. The author who would alphabetically appear first ("Author A") acknowledges that the other author ("Author B") was ultimately the one that was able to get it solicited by major houses, one of which bought it. Subsequently, Author B also used her contacts (and moxie), Miss Snark's advice and well-chosen words to acquire the agent. Author B thinks this tips balance in her favor to be listed first on cover. Author A does not agree that the order should be decided in any way other than alphabetically. She feels professionals in industry would view anything else as a statement of her having less to do with the content.
Question 1: What's your opinion? (Book art starts in a month. )
Question 2: If we can't otherwise talk this out, should we resolve this by coin toss?
My instinct is that we should not throw this into agents lap (Author A is considering this as option) because it's too unprofessional/hints at a less than perfect working relationship. Thankfully, we agree not to let editor resolve.
Thank you for your time.
Respectfully Author B,
who in her next life will marry Mr. A. (Forget Mr. Right!).
1. A is right
2. You don't need to talk it over. Follow my directions.
Alphabetical is the default setting for how to list two authors names. Given there is no compelling reason to not do this, suck it up.
Compelling reasons are: one author is extremely well known and the other is not; and/or one author has a name that is difficult to say or spell correctly or is easily spelled wrong (this is a HUGE deal now that bookstores are all computerized).
No one assumes that the author listed second is the lesser beast.
Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen are in alpha order and the book cover designer stacked the names so it looks "right".
The authors of Rule of Four are also in alpha order; again the book designer makes it look good.
Same with Raymond Feist and Janny Wurts
You can ruin your working relationship with your co-author and look petty all at the same time by insisting that your contribution is more valuable. This is how wars start. Don't do it.